“Paris Region AI Challenge 2018”: Selection of 10 French and foreign startups
On April 12, 2018, Valérie Pécresse, President of the Paris Regional Council, and Alexandra Dublanche, Vice President of Economic Development, launched the competition “Paris Region AI Challenge 2018”, the first international competition for startups with 1 million euros in awards, in partnership with CEA Investissement, CapDecisif Management, the Paris Region Venture Fund, Dassault Systèmes, Atos, EY, Empruntis and the international business law firm Dechert.
This exceptional competition was oriented both toward startups based in Paris Region and also all those that wish to set up in Paris Region (from France or abroad). It was organized in the context of a new strategy to promote the Paris Region as a “Startup Region” and more specifically as the capital of artificial intelligence in Europe.
In total 104 startups applied, of which 30% were foreign, thanks to the intensive outreach efforts of Paris Region Entreprises, the Regional Council’s driving force for promoting investment in Paris Region. Following the application process, a 15-person jury, co-presided by Bertrand Braunschweig, Director of the INRIA center in Saclay-Île-de-France, and composed of scientists and representatives from our organizing partners, announced the first 10 winners yesterday, including 3 foreign companies. The winners are specialized in mobility, industry 4.0 (infrastructure, applications, platforms), health, etc.:
- AIPark (Germany): Last mile solutions for connected vehicles using AI and mobility data.
- Amiral technology: Predictive maintenance solutions to avoid system downtime and to improve maintenance and reduce costs.
- Dataswati: Artificial intelligence to improve complex production processes.
- Ellcie: Smart connected eyewear.
- Involi (Switzerland): Air traffic instruments and collision avoidance for drones.
- LightOn: Optics-based computing hardware for Intelligence.
- Panda: The first augmented reality headphones for the visually impaired.
- Smartify (England): Smartphone app that scans artwork to identify it to the user.
- Therapanacea: Increasing the efficiency and safety of radiotherapy using artificial intelligence.
- Unsupervised: Collaborative, robust and autonomous robots for the industrial environment.
Each of these 10 companies will benefit from 3 months of comprehensive support, and the first two months will be led by EY. During this time the industrial sponsors (Dassault Systèmes, Atos, and Empruntis) will make experts available to the winners on very specific issues, in particular regarding the technical aspects of their AI solutions. The foreign companies will have supplemental advising by Paris Region Enterprises in order to connect them with Paris Region’s innovation ecosystem and to support their set up in France.
The third month of mentoring will provide an opportunity for candidates to connect with the partners, mentors and experts involved in the Challenge on issues that they consider critical to the success of their product and the development of their company (technical expertise, recruitment, market, etc.).
In addition to the criteria already used in selecting the first 10 companies (business model, suitability of the application to the AI theme, progress the solution has brought to the company, etc.), the grand prize winners will also be scored on the progress they make during the mentoring period.
The 3 grand prize winners will be unveiled at the regional AI meeting in mid-October, a unifying event for AI in Paris Region and its international reach. These winners will share the 1 million euros of prize money, (€ 700 000 for first place and € 150,000 for the two runners-up) in the form of capital funds.
Thus, the Region, through the regional investment fund "Paris Region Venture Fund" and CEA Investissement, a subsidiary of CEA, will support the long-term strategic and commercial development of 3 emerging players in Paris Region.